12 Mar 1978 – Series Six (27)

Show winner Patti Boulaye scored 120 points. She was the only contestant in New Faces history to achieve maximum marks from the judges.
Image: ATV Broadcast

This was the final show of the series where the viewers were introduced to new acts as the next two shows would feature acts making their second appearances as a result of winning their original show, scoring over 100 points or being voted back for a second chance by the viewers.

It was also the last show to feature voting in the three categories of content, presentation and entertainment value. The four judges giving their marks out of ten for each of those categories, giving them thirty points each to award, were Tony Blackburn, Rosalie Horner, Jimmy Henney and Les Reed.

The seven new acts looking to secure a place in the last All Winners show of the series were;

  • Mr Chipps (five-piece group) from Liverpool
  • Alan J. Bartley (comedian) from Jarrow
  • Wild Silk (vocal / dance trio) from the North East
  • Cass Nova (vocalist) from Lancashire
  • James Vallon (impressionist) from London
  • Patti Boulaye (vocalist) from London
  • Hot Stuff Band (four-piece group) from London

Uncertain about auditioning for the show, 23 year-old Nigerian vocalist, Patti Boulaye deliberately turned up late for her audition hoping she’d be turned away, however, she was still allowed to perform and was the very final act to be seen by the shows producers. Just eighteen days later Patti performed on this, show number 163, and made New Faces history by receiving the only maximum score in the shows entire six series run.

Patti attributes her strong faith to the fact she survived the horrific 1967–70 Biafran war. At the age of sixteen she left Nigeria for the United Kingdom where she decided to become a nun. During a sightseeing trip to London, Patti joined a queue for what she believed was Madame Tussauds, however, it turned out to be a queue for auditions for the original London production of the musical Hair. To Patti’s total surprise she was given a part and this twist of fate launched her career in musicals. 

Despite securing a degree in law Patti, birth name Patricia Ngozi Ebigwei, decided to go into show business and appeared in a number of West End Musicals before she made her appearance on this show, including a 1973 performance of Two Gentlemen Of Verona and from April 1975 an eighteen month run as Yum Yum in The Black Mikado. The change of name to Patti Boulaye came after a chance meeting with one of the greatest ladies of the British Theatre, Evelyn ‘Boo’ Laye.

Lenny Henry & Patricia Ebigwei (Patti Boulaye) in an episode of the comedy series The Fosters.
Image Source: IMDB

In 1976 Patti appeared in the second episode of the comedy series The Fosters, playing ‘the prettiest girl in the school, Charlotte Bates’ alongside New Faces success Lenny Henry, who played Sonny Foster. Also in 1976 Patti released her self-titled debut album, Patti Boulaye, which featured the Jim Weatherly composition The People Some People Choose To Love which she delivered a powerful and memorable version of on this show.

All four judges unanimously agreed on the performance and awarded the maximum ten points in each of the three categories. Partway through the scoring Derek Hobson could sense that a maximum score was possible and once the entertainment value scores were confirmed it was a moment in New Faces history, the first and only maximum score of 120 points. Patti’s performance was even more remarkable when you discover she kept the tragic secret of her brother’s death from the show’s producers. Shortly before recording her appearance she had heard that her brother Tony, an airline pilot, had been killed in a plane crash in Nigeria.

Listen to a clearly shocked Derek Hobson confirm the first and only maximum score on the show.

Jimmy Henney claimed the song ‘knocked him out’ and he couldn’t understand why Patti had never been on television. Rosalie Horner said ‘seeing somebody like Patti on this show makes me very sad that New Faces is coming off, because she is what this show is all about, discovering a real talent and something that is new and orignal.’

Tony Blackburn cracked one of his corny jokes saying, ‘if she’s a lawyer, I’d like to see her in a pair of briefs,’ which seemed to shock Patti as she placed he hand over her mouth and laughed nervously.’ He then added ‘I think she has what it’s all about, charisma, I think she’s going to be a very big name.’ Les Reed concluded by saying ‘Nigeria should be very proud of Patti.’

Patti Boulaye scores the first and only maximum score of 120 points in New Faces history.

In May 1978 Patti performed on the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop Garden Party, hosted by former New Faces judge Noel Edmonds, which also featured series one runners-up Showaddywaddy, chart group Darts and comedy trio The Goodies. Before the end of the decade Patti had performed before royalty and made many more television appearances including four on Bob Monkhouse’s Celebrity Squares alongside Clement Freud, Tony Blackburn and Arthur Askey, who all appeared on the New Faces judges panel. Patti’s second album, You Stepped Into My Life, was released in 1979, the title track of which was written by Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb.

In 1983 Channel 4 gave Patti her own televison series, The Patti Boulaye Show. The light entertainment series featured musical numbers, like Ain’t No Sunshine, recorded ‘live’ before an audience at the Lakeside Country Club in Surrey and also featured filmed inserts where Patti tried a range of activities. These activities included ice skating with Robin Cousins, judo with Brian Jacks and ‘flying’ in flight simulator at Gatwick airport.

In 2016 Patti was one of the stars to appear in the BBC series The Real Marigold Hotel, which followed a group of celebrity senior citizens, including comedian Roy Walker, on a journey to India. The following year Patti was back on the BBC, this time demonstrating her cooking skills, in series twelve of Celebrity Masterchef.

For over 30 years Patti has supported many charities and in January 2016 she was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours for her charity work in both the UK & Sub-Saharan Africa. Pattis received her OBE from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Patti is also a regular inspirational speaker as well as a talented painter and sells her art creations on her website. In 2017 the autobiography Faith Of A Child was released and tells her remarkable, tragic, exciting and inspiring life from birth in a taxi on the way to a small town in Nigeria to brilliant success as a star in Britain and Nigeria. 

In 2021 following two sell-out years of her show Billie & Me,  Patti returned to live performances with her new one-woman show Aretha and Me. In the tour, which continued into 2022, Patti compared and contrasted her life with that of the Queen of Soul and performed some of her favourite Aretha Franklin numbers including Respect, Say A Little Prayer, Chain of Fools and Think.

Runner-up Tyneside comedian Alan J. Bartley. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The runner-up, with 104 points, was Tyneside comedian Alan J. Bartley who performed his three minute routine of gags and funny stories dressed in his trademark Teddy Boy outfit of red jacket, yellow shirt and black drainpipe trousers and was brandishing a chain in a semi-threatening manner towards the judges. Alan had less than two weeks notice to prepare for his appearance as on his return from performing at Army bases in Germany he had a message to call the New Faces offices, who confirmed his appearance.

Les Reed referred to Alan as ‘the first punk comic’ and described him as a ‘very likeable man,’ and concluded by saying ‘basically he has all the ingredients that a good comic needs.’ Jimmy Henney commented that Alan was ‘a real snappy dresser,’ but had a slight questioned over the strength of his material.

Rosalie Horner disagreed with Jimmy saying she thought his material was very funny and she liked his Irish joke and his Humphrey Bogart impression, but mainly because it went wrong as she was not keen on impressions. Rosalie ended by saying ‘it was a very good act all round.’ Tony Blackburn said ‘as soon as Alan came on I loved him, I loved his material and I thought he was great.’

Alan received nine marks from all four judges for entertainment value which boosted his final score and guaranteed him a return appearance on the penultimate show of the series.

36 year-old Alan had been a full-time comedian on the North-East club circuit for nearly seven years before he appeared on this show. This wasn’t his first television appearance as back in 1975 he’d appeared on Opportunity Knocks where he finished in third place. His appearance on New Faces meant he joined the long list of acts that had appeared on both talent shows.

After the show Alan provided some background details on the recording of the show to a local newspaper where he confirmed that all seven acts stayed in the same Birmingham hotel near to the studios during the two days of rehearsals, saying they all got along really well and no one really considered it to be a competition, they just all wanted to perform well.

He also confirmed that as a comedian there is little the production team can help with in rehearsals and he was left pretty much alone to go through his three minute routine. The production team just checked his material to ensure it wasn’t blue and had a word with the pianist about a few bars of music he needed for part of his routine. He was warned that sometimes acts are asked to repeat their performance, if there are technical problems, which he was dreading as repeating the same jokes twice to an audience would have been difficult. He did confirm that Patti Boulaye had to perform her song twice, although he didn’t know the reason why.

Alan just managed to see his performance when it aired after he’d rushed back from a lunchtime show at a club in Middlesbrough before dashing off again for an evening show in Whitehaven.

In August 1978 Alan J. Bartley and Patti Boulaye were two of three New Faces acts who appeared on Paul Daniels’ Blackpool Bonanza, broadcast on Granda Television and produced by former New Faces judge John Hamp. They were introduced by host Derek Hobson who also introduced the group Civvy Street, Les Reed and the Proms Orchestra and New Faces theme song singer Carl Wayne.

Liverpool group Mr Chipps were managed by Angie McCartney, step-mom of Beatle Paul. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Opening the show were the group Mr Chipps, who peformed one of their own songs, You’re Everything To Me. The group had been together around eighteen months and had recently returned from a tour of Norway. They had also recently released their first single, The Way I Am, written by lead vocalist Peter Foreman and recorded on the Spiral record label.

Jimmy Henney thought the group were ‘very young and very, very enthusiastic,’ however, he added ‘but at the moment, their music doesn’t match up to their enthusiasm.’ He ended on a positive commenting on the singers good voice and said that he ‘quite liked the song.’

Rosalie Horner liked their presentation and liked what she heard and Tony Blackburn also ‘thought the song was very pleasant,’ but also thought the sound was ‘a little bit empty.’ Les Reed thought they should concentrate on their writing as they had a very good sense of the commercial market and likened the group to the early Bay City Rollers.

Mr Chipps were signed to Cloth Cap Management and their manager was Angie McCartney, the step-mom of Beatle Paul, who was reportedly not amused that the 48 year-old widow had taken on showbusiness management. Cloth Cap Management also looked after The Blaize Brothers (show 6.22) and a group called Young World, which featured a young Ian McNabb who would go on to achieve chart success in the 1980s with the LIverpool group The Icicle Works.

Later in the month Mr Chipps would be seen on television again when they appeared on an episode of Get It Together hosted by Roy North and New Faces discovery Linda Fletcher. Later in the year the group embarked on a tour of Scotland and had lined up a summer tour of Denmark. Their second single One Way Love was scheduled for release in the second half of 1978 and in August 1978 the group changed their name to Lime Street.

North East vocal trio Wild Silk.
Image: ATV Broadcast

The third act to perform were the vocal trio Wild Silk who had recently performed in Malta before returning to the UK to perform on this show. They performed the song I Wanna Dance written especially for them by Phil Sampson and Martin Jay.

Rosalie Horner thought the trio were a very polished act but was critical of the routine that accompanied the song as she felt it needed more dancing adding ‘if they really had a marvellous dance routine they’d be quite a knockout.’

Tony Blackburn was less than impressed and commented ‘the singing left a lot to be desired, they sounded to me, rather old fashioned,’ and added that the ‘harmonies, were really, a little bit off key and they sang a little bit out of tune.’ Les Reed agreed with Tony saying their appearace on the show had come too soon for the trio and added ‘I don’t think they’ve got it, personally, at this present time.’ Jimmy Henney said ‘they were dancers first and singers second and as a singing trio they relied too much on the lead voice.’

When it came to the scores the song let them down, only scoring 20 for content and received just four marks from Tony Blackburn in the content and entertainment value categories.

Welsh vocalist Cass Nova.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Vocalist Cass Nova, real name Brian Marshall, was born in Caerphilly, Wales and began his showbusiness career way back in 1963, singing as a member of a Welsh pop group along with his brother. His name change came as a result of someone with the same name already being a member of equity. On the show he performed the song Chase That Dream.

Tony Blackburn thought the new name was wonderful and described Cass as ‘a very polished performer,’ before likening him to Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck and saying it was all about getting the right song. Les Reed confessed that he and Cass had worked on a few songs together before he changed his name adding ‘I’ve always rated Brian very highly.’ Insisting on calling Cass, Brian for the rest of his feedback Les did state ‘he’s got everything that I need in a singer to present my song.’

Jimmy Henney thought Cass was a very good singer with ‘bags of confidence’ who sang in tune and had a very good recording voice. Jimmy thought the song was more of an album track than a hit single and stated that the voice sounded more of a cross between Tony Christie and Tom Jones, without trying to imitate either. Rosalie Horner claimed that Cass had everything she looked for in a singer, ‘sex appeal, good voice,’ and added ‘I loved him, I thought he was very good.’

After turning solo he left Wales to undertake tours of Britain, supporting such well known artists as Shirley Bassey Ken Dodd and Freddie Starr among others, followed by world tours for cabaret dates in such exotic places as Bermuda, Tunisia, Malta and Luxembourg as well as song festivals in Rio and Chile.

In May 1986 Cass was on the bill at the Clubland Command Performance at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens where his repertoire was still relying on the open neck shirt and tight trousers and songs from Neil Diamond, Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck with additional whoop and high kick to boot.

Impressionist James Vallon.
Image: ATV Broadcast

Act number five was James Vallon, an actor and a member of the National Theatre, who in addition to his acting also sang part-time in folk clubs, but on this show he performed his impressionist act. His impressions included, Elvis Presley (singing Are You Lonesome Tonight), Richard Burton, James Mason, Sir Lawrence Olivier and Johnny Cash (singing Folsom Prison Blues).

Les Reed thought James had a great face, adding ‘if he had the voice to match his face, he’d make a fortune,’ and ended his critique with the comment ‘I think he should stick to acting, as that’s where his future lies.’ Jimmy Henney also liked James’ ‘strong’ face as well as his marvellous speaking voice, but wasn’t keen on his singing impressions of Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash. Jimmy thought ‘Mr. Vallon’s future lies as an actor, not as an impressionist.’

Rosalie had previously stated her dislike of impressions and this was no exception as she agreed with Les and Jimmy and didn’t like the setting of his Lawrence Olivier impression stating it ‘fell very flat, and I didn’t like it at all.’ Tony Blackburn gave James the benefit of the doubt and stated that if he combined his acting, impressions and singing he could possibly provide a good half an hour of entertainment.

Hot Stuff Band, the group from Kent, had the unenviable task of following Patti Boulaye’s maximum score and they chose to perform their own composition, Special Lady.

Tony Blackburn thought the group did well considering they had to follow such a fantastic score. He didn’t like the name of the very much, but he liked the song stating they were a lot better than some of the current chart groups. Rosalie also liked the group and their music but wanted them to engage the audience a little more.

Jimmy Henney though the group performed well together as a band, but thought the vocal harmonies didn’t blend well and found that quite off putting. Les Reed liked the use of the mellotron which he felt made them self-sufficient, but he just didn’t think they had quite got it.

PosActPresentationContentEntertainment ValueScore
1Patti Boulaye404040120
2Alan J. Bartley353336104
3Cass Nova353235102
4Hot Stuff Band32313295
5Mr Chipps29293088
6James Vallon27212573
7Wild Silk24202468
The final scoreboard, and a record score for Patti Boulaye, who recorded the first and only maximum score in New Faces history

Archive: A copy is held by the BFI – Work – 572295

3 thoughts on “12 Mar 1978 – Series Six (27)

    1. Casa Nova was my dad. He sadly passed away on 2nd Oct last year (2023) but will always be remembered as a great singer/performer and recording artist. I have created a Facebook page for him, if has any memories, photos etc they’d like to contribute, please check it out and lete know. I especially desperate to find a copy of this performance / appearance on New Faces of anyone can help. Many thanks. Tyrone Marshall.


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